December 12 in freethought history…

December 12, 1896 – Freethought activists and lecturers Samuel Porter Putnam and May Collins are found dead in her hotel room in Boston, apparently of gaslight asphyxiation. Both were found on the floor, fully clothed. Putnam was president of the American Secular Union, the California State Liberal Union and the Freethought Federation of America. He toured widely throughout America, giving numerous lectures and writing several books, most notably 400 Years of Freethought. Collins, from Maysville, Kentucky, was a 20-year-old rising star in the freethought movement.

December 12, 1915 – Singer and actor Frank Sinatra is born in Hoboken, New Jersey. Aside from his storied career, Sinatra was active in various social causes, speaking out against racism and for integration. As for religion, in a 1963 interview with Playboy, Sinatra said, “Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions.” He died in 1998, aged 82.

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